Golfing Meets Charm at Ben Brown’s

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In Laguna Beach’s quaint coastal archive of year-round things to do, by no means is Ben Brown’s Golf Course one to be neglected. This 87-acre gem rests between a winding canyon-esque corridor of beautiful California hillsides, comparable to that of an elaborate scene crafted by Disney.

This natural visual wonder isn’t new, but rather full of rich Laguna Beach history that roots back to 1871 when a set of travelers by the names of George and Sarah Thurston decided to build a home where the third hole of the course sits today.

The idea for the course and resort was swung at just short of a century later by new owner Bill Bryant, who, in 1956 sold it to Ben and Violet Brown. Sound familiar? A few more ownership transfers took place but all inevitably lead to the magnificent piece of property we know today as The Ranch at Laguna Beach, where Ben Brown’s resides.

“There are quite a few great golf courses in Orange County, but you will truly be hard pressed to find a course as beautiful, enjoyable, sustainably conscious, and with as much local history as Ben Brown’s,” says Ryan Sheffer, Director of Golf at The Ranch.

Sheffer, a highly decorated golfer himself, also oversees the Junior Clinic golf academy at the course. The academy itself, now in its ninth year, may still be as young as some of its students, but don’t be fooled, these youth are committed and hungry, showing promise of bright golfing careers.

A favorite by many celebrities, including PGA Tour superstars like Rickie Fowler and Ben Crenshaw, majestic is a great word to describe one’s experience at Ben Brown’s.

How many other golf courses in Orange County have resident deer graciously blocking a possible birdie shot? Where else must someone contemplate how to maneuver the ball over the Aliso Creek and onto the green? Both paint a pretty picture of what’s in store at this course.

“It all starts with the initial tee shot on our signature first hole, as the towering canyon walls make for a very cool backdrop,” Sheffer says. “Our nine-hole canyon carved track provides a unique experience that is sure to create some lasting memories… it can be enjoyed by all skill levels and ages.”

For those who don’t swing the club like Tiger Woods, walking this course simply for its scenery is almost as good. And then there’s always Ben Brown’s “Three-Club Barefoot Golf” -- an annual tournament in May in which everyone plays with only three clubs and walks the course barefoot. (Which comes highly recommended by Sheffer.)

Ben Brown’s golf course is located at 31106 Coast Highway, Laguna Beach. For more information and tee times, visit their website.

Born and raised on the salty shores of California’s coast, Manny Frausto is a contributor at LBL and has been seen taking a swing at things journalistically for the LA and OC Register, OC Home Magazine, and more. Reach out to him at manny@lagunabeachliving.com.